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What I said to them

When you have two kids who will be able to vote in the next election, they kinda pay attention to the current election. All three of my children were interested in this year’s process – nothing really  new…..as I’ve said, we don’t censor much, and we’re kind of a civically-minded family, so they’ve been aware of elections the last two rounds. All three were pretty invested in what was going on. They heard it all – the campaigns, the debates, the commercials, the rhetoric, the pundits, the news, the polls. They knew who we were voting for. They knew why we were voting for her, why we were against the other. So I sent them to bed Tuesday night  – they were anxious. We were all a bit shell-shocked when we woke up yesterday.

I couldn’t talk with them about it yesterday. They sensed my anxiety, my sadness, and a bit of anger. Here’s my caveat to what I’m about to say: I respect everyone’s right to vote, I understand voting party lines, I get voting against a candidate, I get voting causes and issues. I don’t get voting because you agree with the hatred spewed during the campaign. My kids know this. We reiterated it a dozen times, if not more. But I have a daughter – one who is very determined, focused, strong, tough, driven. I had to explain rape culture to her, and she just 15 years old. I had to explain to her how a man who admitted to sexual assault could stay in an election while a television personality was fired over it. I had to explain why other would say that’s okay, it’s just “locker room talk.”  I had to look her in the eyes and talk with her about gender inequality – that it still exists, and that many people still see women as less-capable, less-worthy. I have a son who has a developmental disability. I had to explain why some people still believe it’s okay to treat him as less, to make fun of him for things he can’t control – how he  sometimes acts, how his body sometimes behaves. I had to explain to my oldest child why he simply cannot believe it’s okay to act out what he’s seen as acceptable behavior by a candidate over the last year. He may not take advantage of, nor feel entitled to, white male privilege. We are all human beings…black, white, brown, red, yellow, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, atheist, agnostic, male, female, LGBTQ, heterosexual. We are ALL human beings, deserving of respect. We are created equal.

Yesterday, I couldn’t talk with them about these things. I was caught up in a bad place emotionally. I was processing.

We got into the car this morning to go to school. There were lots of heavy sighs, and more questions of how this happened, more comments on the results. I told them, “Okay, we have one more day to wallow, to be angry, to be upset, to be a little bitter; but then we’re done. He is going to be our President. We need to work together with both sides to make our country be the best it can be. We don’t insult the other side, we don’t support extremists from either party, we don’t spread rumors, we don’t put anyone down or insult them or question their vote, we don’t turn our backs just because things didn’t go the way we wanted. Today, we get the feels all done with. Tomorrow, we begin the work – the work to make sure no one loses any part of their civil liberties, no one is bullied, no one is treated as less. Tomorrow, we reach out with hope and compassion. Tomorrow, we keep our eyes and ears open – we help those who need help, we make sure hatred, vitriol, racism, sexism, and all the phobias don’t take hold, don’t spread. We reach out with love.”  That is what I said to them.

I do feel hopeful. The things I’ve heard since yesterday morning from those we needed to hear it from, have helped, have  made me less fearful, less anxious. But we will be mindfully watchful.

4 thoughts on “What I said to them

  1. I’m so glad you posted this. I wonder about this as a parent. I cried as I went to bed Tuesday. It hit me hard and I didn’t know it would. Rock said what I was thinking, it felt tight but we both just thought it was all going to work out. I cried for fear of what will happen as self-employed parents and how we will pay for insurance now. And then it shocked me. I cried because I didn’t realize just how much I was hoping for a female president. I had been so excited to wake Mary up in the morning and tell her we had a woman who would be president. It felt so great to see a woman being strong and pushing past all this hatred. And I was loving that Mary ran into the living room every time Katy Perry sang Roar on that commercial. I loved watching her dance. She didn’t even realize what a perfect correlation it was. Sigh….I’m moving forward. But it is still hard and yet I know we will all be okay because we have each other.

  2. Audrey (8) seems to have got it pretty straight in her head already; when passing the tv the other day, which showed a side by side shot of Trump and Clinton, she tapped each face in turn and said; “Meanie. Goodie.”

    Despite my dislike for Hillary, I couldn’t help but admit; “Yep, close enough.”

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